Just Add Water

As mentioned here a recent injury left me on the bench from the marathon, and a recommendation to ditch anything high impact while I recover. No running, no plyometrics, no high intensity, basically — no anything. My pity-party-for-one lasted about a day longer than it should have, but once I shaped up I saw the silver lining of my situation. I returned back where my athletic and fitness career started at age four — in the pool. And I remembered why I loved it so much for so many years. The pool is overlooked when it comes to training, shaping up or sliming down. Water is about 800 times more resistant than air so it burns calories, boosts metabolism and works every muscle in your body — all without putting stress on joints. Looking to stay active while you recover from tendonitis, a stress fracture, or are just want to add variety to your training programs? Just add water and try the three workouts below.

If you’re new to swimming take a second to review the lingo and equipment. The workout below is measured in yards.

Length = one time down the pool

Lap = one time down and back (or two lengths)

  • 25 yards: 1 length
  • 50 yards: 2 lengths
  • 100 yards: 4 lengths
  • 200 yards: 8 lengths
  • 300 yards: 12 lengths

Most gym pools give you access to kickboards and pull buoys, both of which I use on a regular basis to challenge different body parts and prevent boredom. Unsure how to use either of them? Check out how to kick and how to pull.

Endurance Swim

Warm-up: 300 yards, easy pace

 Set 1: Ascending Pyramid Swim 50-yard/100-yard/150-yard/200-yard swim

            Rest 60 seconds between sets

Set 2: 4 x 200 yards

            Even numbered 200’s: Swim

            Odd numbered 200’s: Pull

Set 3: Descending Pyramid Swim 200-yard/150-yard/100-yard/ 50-yard swim

Cool Down: 200 yards, easy pace

Speed Swim

Warm-Up: 3 x 200 yards, easy pace

            #1: Swim

            #2: Pull

            #3: Kick

Set 1: 16 x 50 yards, max effort

            Perform 8 x 50-yard swims at max effort resting 10 seconds between sets

            Rest for two full minutes

Perform remaining 8 x 50-yard swims at max effort resting 10 seconds between sets

Set 2: 20 x 25 yards, max effort

            Perform 10 x 25-yard swims at max effort resting 5 seconds between sets

            Rest for one full minute

Perform remaining 10 x 25-yard swims at max effort resting 5 seconds between sets

Cool Down: 100 yards, easy pace


Warm-Up A: 4 x 100 yards, easy pace

            #1 Swim

            #2 Kick with kickboard

            #3 Pull using pull buoy

            #4 Swim

Warm-Up B: 1 x 200 yards, moderate pace

Set 1: 6 x 50 yards sprint

Perform each 50-yard set at max effort

            Rest for 30 seconds

Set 2: 10 x 100 yards

            Even numbered 100’s: Swim

            Odd numbered 100’s: Pull

Cool Down: 200 yards, easy pace

For efficiency, less drag and overall attractiveness: get a pair of goggles, a latex swim cap and a one piece suit.

For more information read here.


  1. Yours is one of the only sites I follow and was bummed when there was a lack of posts. So sorry to hear about your injury but but so glad you are recovering and sharing your story! Keep it up 🙂

  2. This is great! I started swimming as a form of working out a few months ago, but with no real background in competitive swimming, I didn’t know how to structure effective workouts for myself. Workouts I found online were either too advanced or used terminology I didn’t understand. This post is exactly what I’ve been looking for. Thank you!!

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